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  #311  
Old 07-26-2009, 03:44 PM
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Default Jul. 26

July 26, 2009

Role Models

READ: Philippians 2:12-18

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault. —Philippians 2:14-15

During a summer of international sports scandals involving gambling and substance abuse, two athletes were applauded for their character as much as their professional accomplishments. A record crowd of 75,000 cheered Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn during their 2007 induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. “Whether we like it or not,” Ripken said, “as big leaguers, we are role models. The only question is, will it be positive or will it be negative?”

Gwynn echoed the sentiment: “There’s more than just playing the game of baseball. . . . You’re responsible, you’ve got to make good decisions and show people how things are supposed to be done.”

Every day, people are watching us. As followers of Christ, we are guided by Paul’s challenge to “become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

Compromise causes others to become disillusioned, while character fosters hope. As the life of our Savior flows out from us, we can encourage others and point them to Him.

What kind of role model will we be for someone watching today? — David C. McCasland

Guard well your life, to the Savior be true;
Many are watching each deed that you do;
Hence if you stumble and fall in deep sin,
It will prove harder lost souls here to win. —Bosch


The best role models model Christ.
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  #312  
Old 07-27-2009, 03:47 AM
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Default Jul. 27

July 27, 2009

God’s Heart Revealed

READ: Revelation 3:14-22

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. —Revelation 3:19

It’s easy to think of God as a divine fly-swatter, just waiting for you to land so that—whap—He can nail you for your sins. But that’s not what we see in Revelation 2–3 in His letters to the seven churches. The pattern of the letters demonstrates God’s loving heart for wayward people.

Jesus began many of these letters by affirming the good things His people had done. This shows us that when we do what is good and right, the Lord is pleased.

But Jesus is also concerned about the faults in our lives. His commendation in these letters was often followed by clear words of reproof. And while it’s not comfortable to hear Him say, “Nevertheless I have this against you” (2:4; see vv.14,20), He reveals what needs to be changed in our lives to keep us from self-deceit.

This moves us to the real heart of the matter—repentance. When the Lord told these churches to repent, He was revealing His love for wayward saints. His goal was not to condemn but to restore them to intimate fellowship with Him.

And don’t miss the fact that each letter ends with a specific promise for the “overcomers.” Clearly God desires to reward those who live lives that are pleasing to Him.

What’s He saying to you today? — Joe Stowell

To live a life that pleases Christ,
It’s crucial to obey His voice;
When He reveals our sin to us,
Repentance is the wisest choice. —Sper


Repentance restores and renews our intimacy with the Lord.
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  #313  
Old 07-28-2009, 03:30 AM
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July 28, 2009

The Value Of Friends

READ: 1 Samuel 20:12-17

Jonathan . . . loved [David] as he loved his own soul. —1 Samuel 20:17

John Chrysostom (347–407) was one of the great preachers in the early church. He was given the name Chrysostom, which means “golden-mouthed,” because of his eloquent sermons.

Here is one of his insights on the value of friends: “Such is friendship, that through it we love places and seasons; for as . . . flowers drop their sweet leaves on the ground around them, so friends impart favor even to the places where they dwell. With friends even poverty is pleasant. . . . It would be better for us that the sun were exhausted than that we should be without friends.”

The story of Jonathan and David illustrates the value of friendship. Though David was hunted by the demented King Saul, he drew encouragement from his friendship with Saul’s son. “Jonathan . . . loved [David] as he loved his own soul” (1 Sam. 20:17). Their relationship was characterized by trust, understanding, and encouragement. How difficult it would have been for David to endure this unjust persecution without the nourishment of friendship based in the Lord (v.42).

The ancient voice of Chrysostom and the witness of David and Jonathan are reminders of the need to nurture the friendships God has given us. — Dennis Fisher

Since I have no gold to give,
And love alone must make amends,
My daily prayer is while I live—
“God, make me worthy of my friends.” —Sherman


A friend is the first person who comes in when the whole world has gone out.
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  #314  
Old 07-29-2009, 02:47 AM
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Default Jul. 29

July 28, 2009

The Value Of Friends

READ: 1 Samuel 20:12-17

Jonathan . . . loved [David] as he loved his own soul. —1 Samuel 20:17

John Chrysostom (347–407) was one of the great preachers in the early church. He was given the name Chrysostom, which means “golden-mouthed,” because of his eloquent sermons.

Here is one of his insights on the value of friends: “Such is friendship, that through it we love places and seasons; for as . . . flowers drop their sweet leaves on the ground around them, so friends impart favor even to the places where they dwell. With friends even poverty is pleasant. . . . It would be better for us that the sun were exhausted than that we should be without friends.”

The story of Jonathan and David illustrates the value of friendship. Though David was hunted by the demented King Saul, he drew encouragement from his friendship with Saul’s son. “Jonathan . . . loved [David] as he loved his own soul” (1 Sam. 20:17). Their relationship was characterized by trust, understanding, and encouragement. How difficult it would have been for David to endure this unjust persecution without the nourishment of friendship based in the Lord (v.42).

The ancient voice of Chrysostom and the witness of David and Jonathan are reminders of the need to nurture the friendships God has given us. — Dennis Fisher

Since I have no gold to give,
And love alone must make amends,
My daily prayer is while I live—
“God, make me worthy of my friends.” —Sherman


A friend is the first person who comes in when the whole world has gone out.
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  #315  
Old 07-30-2009, 04:20 AM
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July 30, 2009

Getting Involved

READ: Luke 10:30-37

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion. —Psalm 111:4

Isn’t anybody going to help that poor guy?” Fred exclaimed as he and my husband, Tom, realized what had been causing traffic to creep down the busy five-lane road. A man lay sprawled between the lanes, bicycle on top of him, as vehicles simply drove around him. Fred turned on the warning flashers and blocked traffic with his car. Then both guys jumped out to help the shaken man.

Fred and Tom got involved, as did the Samaritan man in Jesus’ story in Luke 10. Like him, they overcame any reluctance they might have had to reach out to a man in distress. The Samaritan also had to overcome racial and cultural prejudice. The people we would have expected to help showed indifference to the injured man’s plight.

It’s easy to find reasons not to get involved. Busyness, indifference, and fear often top the list. Yet as we seek to follow our Lord faithfully, we will become more aware of opportunities to show the kind of compassion He showed (Matt. 14:14; 15:32; Mark 6:34).

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus commended the man who had acted out of compassion even though it was inconvenient, difficult, and costly to do so. Then, to us He says, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). — Cindy Hess Kasper

When we share another’s burden,
We display God’s love and care,
Offering relief and comfort
When life seems too much to bear. —Sper


True compassion puts love into action.
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  #316  
Old 07-31-2009, 03:46 AM
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July 31, 2009

The Only Place To Start

READ: Galatians 1:6-12

If anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. —Galatians 1:9

When a publishing company asked me to write an endorsement for a new book, I said I’d be glad to. It appeared to be a helpful effort directed to young people, challenging them to live for God in a changing world. But as I read the book, something troubled me. Although it had lots of Scripture and great spiritual advice, it didn’t explain that the starting point for any relationship with God is salvation through Jesus Christ.

The writer seemed to imply that the essence of living spiritually in modern society is based totally on action—good deeds—and not on saving faith in Christ. I didn’t write the endorsement.

The culture of the church is changing rapidly. Often left behind in the rush to find exciting new ideas is the essential nature of the gospel. The apostle Paul was astonished that people so readily embraced a “different gospel” (Gal. 1:6). What he preached was not from man, but a direct revelation from Jesus Himself (vv.11-12).

We must never let go of that true gospel: Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again for our justification, declaring us righteous before God (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:3-4). This alone offers the “power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). If we want to live for God, this is the only place to start. — Dave Branon

No one can say he doesn’t need
Forgiveness for his sin,
For all must come to Christ by faith
To have new life within. —Branon


Faith is the hand that must take God’s gift of salvation.
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  #317  
Old 07-31-2009, 11:52 AM
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I'm still reading! Thanks as always for doing this.
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James 1:16-17 ESV
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights
With God's help...Mens sana in corpore sano
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  #318  
Old 08-01-2009, 04:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Commander View Post
I'm still reading! Thanks as always for doing this.
Great, I'll continue to post them.
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  #319  
Old 08-01-2009, 04:48 AM
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August 1, 2009

Biography Of God

READ: Romans 1:16-20

Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen . . . even His eternal power and Godhead. —Romans 1:20

Let’s say you were really famous. People would want to know all kinds of things about you. Then let’s say you called me up and asked, “How’d you like to write my biography?” Let’s say I agreed. I would be all over you like a moth on a streetlight, buzzing around trying to find out all I could about you. I’d ask you a thousand questions. I would ask for your list of contacts and call everyone on it to find out more about you. Then I would ask you to hand over anything related to your life. Papers. Pictures. The works.

I would look for three components, which are the secret to getting to know someone: What you say about yourself, what others say about you, and what you’ve done. Now think of what this means as you seek to know God: What does He say about Himself, what do others say about Him, and what has He done?

To know God in a vibrant, new way, ask all three. Read the Bible to find out what God says about Himself (Ex. 34:6-7; Lev. 19:2; Jer. 32:27). Then find out what the writers say about Him and His remarkable attributes (Ps. 19:1-4; Rom. 1:16-20; 1 John 4:8-10). Finally, take a look at the amazing things God has done (Gen. 1:1; Ex. 14:10-31; John 3:16).

Get to know God. Be His biographer. It will teach you more about Him than you ever thought possible. — Dave Branon

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious—Thy great name we praise. —Smith


The God who created the universe is the God you can know.
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  #320  
Old 08-02-2009, 05:38 AM
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August 2, 2009

Best Friends

READ: 1 Samuel 20:30-42

The righteous should choose his friends carefully. —Proverbs 12:26

When I signed up for a popular Internet social network, I was shocked to be greeted with the words, “You have no friends.” Although I knew it was untrue, I still felt sad for a moment. The idea that anyone, even an impersonal Web site, would call me friendless was upsetting. Friends are essential for our emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Friends listen to our heartaches without blaming us for having problems. They defend us when we’re under attack. They are happy when we succeed and sad when we fail. They give us wise counsel to keep us from making foolish choices. They even risk making us angry for the sake of making us right. My friends have done all of this and more for me.

Perhaps the best-known friendship in the Bible is that of Jonathan and David. Jonathan was heir to the throne of his father Saul. But he knew that the Lord had chosen David for that role, so he risked his own life to save his friend (1 Sam. 20).

As the Bible shows us, we need to choose friends carefully (Prov. 12:26). The very best friends are those who are friends with God and who strengthen our relationship with Him (1 Sam. 23:16). — Julie Ackerman Link

I do not ask for many friends,
But give me, Lord, the few
Whose loyalty and faithfulness
Are first of all to You. —Meadows


True friends are like diamonds—precious and rare.
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